India today is facing a myriad of very real and challenging problems. Our country is home to nearly 25 percent of the world’s hungry poor. 43 percent of all children below the age of five in our country are malnourished. The deep rooted misogyny in our culture captured national attention in the recent Delhi and Mumbai gang rape incidents. The staggering economic and policy making challenges our country faces was highlighted through the unanticipated, and rapid depreciation of our currency by nearly 42 percent in a span of two years. The political culture in our country continues to be dictated by a populist, divisive, regressive and corrupt agenda. This list can go on and on.
But why do any of us even need to care?
We are part of a privileged minority in our country with access to quality healthcare, education, other fundamental necessities and many more comforts, so may not feel that these problems concern us. However, basic game theory tells us that the best result for an individual comes when an individual does what’s best for himself and the group that he is a part of. The greatest business leaders from our country, like JRD Tata, Walchand Hirachand, Kasturbha Lalbhai and GD Birla, have gone out of their way to encourage entrepreneurs to start new businesses, fund educational institutions, contribute to the national freedom struggle and commit themselves to a sense of social responsibility. These men were making great individual profits and were in a comfortable state, and yet they chose to create more competition for themselves and to siphon away significant portions of their profit margins, in order to factor in a degree of social and moral responsibility to their business plans. Even the observations of evolutionary biologists in nature tell us that short sighted selfishness will spell doom for a species.
At the Student Think Tank for India, we thereby recognize that we are all connected to each other, as part of environmental, economic and social frameworks, and that the only way to make the carnal instinct of self-preservation sustainable is through collective preservation. We fear that life as we know it in India is simply not sustainable. The only question now is whether we allow change to come as a series of destructive phenomenon or as rays of hope emanating from the power of a united stand by us, the future of this country.
We strongly believe that there is an urgent need for all of us to refuse to recede into the comfort of apathy and passive blame games.
Therefore the primary purpose of our organization is to promote the spirit of involved inquiry and to raise the collective awareness regarding social, economic, technical and political issues of significance in India. We believe that an increased awareness and thoughtful involvement will unleash our largely wasted potential that is shackled by indifference, inaction and ignorance. Once empowered by knowledge and an active, involved spirit, we can look to solve the problems that our people face as path breaking innovators, responsible policy makers, motivated business leaders and thoughtful citizens.
We just created our Facebook page and website where we will be posting updates and interesting material based on our events, discussions and observations. We promise to provide great food for thought so please do check it out!
On behalf of all the members of the Student Think Tank for India,
President, Student Think Tank for India – Purdue University.